Cabinet reshuffle: Nuclear will place economy in dire danger - economist

Cape Town - South Africa's fiscal situation already places the economy in dire danger and the latest Cabinet reshuffle - apparently a clear attempt to put nuclear power plans back on track - only makes matters worse, even if nuclear power is still far in the future.

This is the view of Rian le Roux, chief economist at Old Mutual Investment Group.

"If Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba is already struggling to keep the national budget under control without the National Health Insurance and nuclear power, I do not want to be in his shoes if those two items are added," Le Roux told Fin24 on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday former Minister of State Security David Mahlobo was appointed SA's new energy minister. Former Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has been moved from to communications.

South African Federation of Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is of the view that the reshuffle shows the nuclear bill "has to happen".

"This is South Africa under Jacob Zuma. Every day we wake up to a new low. There's no bar, we're walking freely in any direction... It's Zuma first and the country last," Vavi said in a video interview.

"Like all of the previous Cabinet reshuffles, this has absolutely nothing to do with advancing any revolution or any interest of the country. I think it’s about consolidating power in Cabinet in particular, considering the possibilities of the elective conference in December 2017, as well as the 2019 elections."

Lawson Naidoo, executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, said in a video interview the reshuffle was clearly all about the nuclear deal.

"We know Minister Mahlobo has accompanied the president on several visits to Russia in recent times. That has obviously paved the way for the nuclear deal with Rosatom that we know Zuma is very keen on, and that is likely to be the one big corrupt tender that is likely to take place before Zuma leaves office," said Naidoo.

WATCH: Lawson Naidoo on the Cabinet reshuffle:

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